I have a question about my sentence...


In the sentence, "Does the federal government have a right to regulate what we can eat?", would "have" or "has" be grammadically correct? I do understand 'federal government' is singular, but "has" just doesn't sound right.

Please help me.

See example:

From these arguments, the question emerges; does the federal government have a right to regulate what we, as Americans, can eat?
asked Jan 26 '14 at 23:34 Jeremy Flood New member

2 answers


The reason you use have is because you used an interrogative sentence:

"Does the government have...?"


If you used an affirmative sentence you would indeed use has:

"The government has..."


Have is reflexive of the verb "does" not the subject "government".


Similarly, you will do this with all singular subjects when forming an interrogative sentence:

"Does the boy have...?" (not has)

"The boy has..."


"Does Wal-mart have...?" (not has)

"Wal-mart has..."


And so on.


Hope this helps.

link comment answered Jan 26 '14 at 23:41 Aaron Prejean Expert

An additional pooint to Aaron's fine answer:


The affirmative sentence can still use "does have."  This is often used for emphasis.


The government does have ...

The boy does have ...

link comment answered Jan 26 '14 at 23:54 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

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